exoticgirl 624 Views
Joined: Mar 20, '07;
Posts: 1 (100% Liked)
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I'm a correctional RN and would be happy to talk to you about the pros and cons (no pun intended) of working in a prison enviornment, and the State system in general.
In the past, it was impossible for the CDCR it recruit enough nurses to cover their basic needs. The quality of healthcare along with the staff was very poor. In other words, most of the nurses that worked for the prisons, were ones that you would never consider hiring on the outside. NEVER! (Most, but not all).
Numerous lawsuits from inmates led to court ordered changes with specified timelines and roll out dates for specific institutions. The improvements never occured, and as a result, the federal government took over the management of inmate medical services. This led to increasing the salaries for state MD's and nurses, and the forced hiring of contract doctors and nurses at astronomical rates. (My doctor friend was making 2K per day through a registry). The main goal in increasing salaries, was to attract/recruit highly skilled professionals from the private sector by offering competative wages. The retirement benefits are some of the best around. However, instead of doing some major "housecleaning" and getting rid of nurses and docs that had previously gotten away with substandard performance ( I won't call it work), those are the very people who have risen to the top of the ranks. Why? Because when you work in the State system, it's all about seniority, nepotism, and who you know, rather then qualifications, experience or performance based promotions.
If you plan on getting a job with the California prison system, I would suggest doing at least a year at a regular hospital. Secondly, once you start, don't plan on actually using your nursing skills for good use. If you are smart, you'll intimidate those who work around you, including your direct supervisors, who have a lack of insite on policy and procedure, as well as consistancy. If you are talanted in your skills, instead of excelling in your carreer, you will be held back, and given assignments/posts that are the least desirable. If you are not of a certain ethnicity, you will be treated less then, and if you happend to have a difference of opinion with someone in that "cultural group", no matter how superficial it is, you will be brought up on discrimination charges through the EEO. (As a charge nurse I changed someones assignment for the greater good of the unit. Having never worked with this nurse, she filed a discrimination charge against me, claiming that I was a racist). These are just a few of the everyday commonplace experiences that I've encountered during my employment with the CDCR.
The positives........Living near a prison, the cost of living is literally half of what is was when I lived in coastal socal. The Pay!!! Oh, and I learned never to trust anyone. (I'm not talking about the inmates. I'm referring to coworkers).
I wouldn't reccomend it to anyone, unless your main goal is to make a specific amount of money. That's the only reason why I'm still working with CDCR. Once I'm caught up financially, and vested in the retirement system, I plan on doing nothing but good with my nursing degree. It's not that I don't maintain my high standards and give excellent care at the prison, because I do. It's just that because of it, I'm constantly penalized.
Hope this helps. I don't mean to sound so negative, but until we find a way to bypass the union and get rid of the nurses that are so horrendous, and/or grandfathered in, I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel.
I've learned to never compromise my own personal standards. That's how I get through my day, and come home feeling satisfied.
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